August 8, 2019

Sell the Heart, and the Mind Will Follow

Travel marketing requires an appeal to emotions

When you call the Black Hills of South Dakota home, travel and tourism becomes part of your DNA. That’s also true for an ad agency nestled on the brick-paved streets of historic Deadwood. But that doesn’t mean our travel and tourism work is confined to the million-acre playground of the Black Hills. In fact, we work with tourism and Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) clients from Montana to Vermont.

There’s something invigorating about tourism marketing; Crafting inviting narratives and experiences you know travelers will one day walk down. Captivating imagery and video with well-written copy can paint a picture of what travelers can experience. That’s some of the most fulfilling and fun work we do as an ad agency.

But what does tourism marketing in today’s world look like? Content-rich websites. Fully integrated digital campaigns. Unique out-of-home applications. There are ways to target and track your campaign that are more innovative than ever. But what’s not changed is that you must still sell the heart first, and then let the mind follow. You must make an emotional connection before forcing practical information.

At tdg, we’re doing exactly that.


For the Blackhawk Waterways region in northwest Illinois, we’ve developed an integrated campaign built around the idea of escaping the concrete jungle of Chicago (their target market) and experiencing real activities just two hours away. The #InRealLife campaign uses interesting tag lines and imagery features exciting activities to grab attention, drive traffic to their website, and convert into bookings.

Baby Animals

Our clients in Gardiner, Montana, assumed their “thing” was the fact that Gardiner was the only year-round entrance to Yellowstone. Research said otherwise: baby animals was their “thing.” The year-round entrance was well down the list. So when developing their new website, we placed baby animals and captivating messaging front and center on their homepage to help increase bookings.

out-of-home sidewalk graphics

History Around the Corner

For Deadwood History, their Adams Museum numbers were down after the new Deadwood Welcome Center opened at the other end of downtown. DHI came to us for ideas.

We knew that the museum, just two blocks off Main Street, was close to a ton of foot traffic. Our idea was simple, use creative out-of-home sidewalk graphics to get people’s attention.

These are just three examples of many when it comes to the travel and tourism marketing we do. If you need help, or if you would like to talk about great ideas on how to capture people’s hearts, give us a call at tdg.

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